Main menu

Education is important when dealing with your migraine or headache. We hope this page helps bring you relief.

Migraine Information

We’ve put together a variety of topics containing headache and migraine information. If you have any suggestions on material we can include on this page, please contact us. Your thoughts count!

  1. Types of Migraines and Headaches
  2. Why not just take drugs?
  3. Natural Remedies
  4. Book List

Headaches can be a pain in the neck … back or head. It is one of the most common local pain complaints by people around the world. Although migraine headaches are the most common cause of severe headache, there are well over 100 causes of head pain. Some common causes of headaches are poor posture, eye strain, dehydration, peanuts, food additives, and fumes.

The cause of your particular headache is likely a combination of your particular physical and chemical make-up, combined with outside factors such as diet or stress. The combinations and permutations possible for arriving at the cause of your headache are enormous. That is one reason why there is no one cure for everyone, or for every headache. Something that gets rid of your headache today may not work tomorrow.

Of course there are some solutions that work well across a broad spectrum of headache types and causes. Those solutions are usually just a starting place though. Even if you find some medicine that works well for you, because of the long and short-term use side effects, as well as the cost, it is usually best to continue looking for a more holistic cure or, better yet, prevention.

Headache medicine covers up the pain. It does not address the reason you are experiencing the pain in the fist place. Pain is the body’s way of telling you that you need to change something. Put your hand on a hot stove and you know exactly what you need to change in a hurry. With headaches, it is rarely that obvious. It will likely take some experimentation on your part to find out what you need to change. The effort you put into solving your headache puzzle can pay off in a lifetime of being pain free.

Although headaches often feel like it is your brain that hurts, it is actually the scalp that is the culprit. The brain is actually impervious to pain since it lacks pain-sensitive nerve fibers.

Although there's still no cure, medications can help reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and may stop the pain once it has started. The right medicines combined with self-help remedies and changes in lifestyle may make a tremendous difference for you.

Like other types of pain, a headache can be a warning of a more serious problem. There are many ailments (both life threatening and non-life threatening) that can cause headaches. For this reason, it is always a good idea to report a persistent headache to your doctor.

Below is a list of the more common types of headaches with a brief description of each. If any of these descriptions sound similar to your particular type of headache you can click on the link to obtain more information about it.

Tension HeadacheSource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tension_headache

Tension Headaches will have pain that radiates out from the neck, back, eyes, or some other muscle. Patients often feel like there is a constant pressure, like their head is being squeezed.

Migraine HeadacheSource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migraine

Migraine headaches typically have four phases and each phase can vary in intensity for each person. A migraine will often begin with an altered mood. Some sufferers then will experience visual aura which can come in many different types. The pain that follows the aura phase usually comes on gradually, peaks, and then subsides. The pain can last for hours or even days. At the end of the migraine, the sufferer will often experience an altered mood again.

Ictal Headache Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ictal_headache

These headaches usually occur either before or after a seizure.

Thunderclap Headache Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderclap_headache

As the name indicates, these headaches are sudden and severe. Medical attention should be obtained immediately.

Cluster Headache Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_headache

A cluster headache is usually a very sever headache that gives a piercing sensation near one eye or temple.

Coital Cephalalgia Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coital_cephalalgia

This is a rare type of severe headache that occurs right before orgasm. The pain starts at the base of the skull and moves towards the front of the head. A sharp pain behind the eyes is common.

Sinus Headache Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinusitis

A sinus headache is associated with pain in the sinus area which ranges from the cheeks, to just above the eyes.

Rebound headache Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebound_headache

Rebound headaches are a result of over use of certain medicines, including pain relievers for headaches. There are a number of pain relief medicines ranging from prescription triptans to over-the-counter Tylenol that can cause rebound headaches. Just one more reason to find a natural or holistic cure if you are able.

Rebound headaches can be very painful and will usually occur daily. If the frequency of your headache is increasing, especially if you go from periodic headaches to daily headaches, there is a good chance you are experiencing a rebound headache.

Be sure to consult your doctor before abruptly stopping your medication routine. Discontinuing butalbital, for example, can induce seizures.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that deaths from accidental drug interactions rose 68 percent between 1999 and 2004. Unintentional drug poisonings accounted for nearly 20,000 deaths in 2004 making the problem now the second-highest cause of accidental death in the United States, after automobile accidents. According to the CDC report, "Prescription drugs, especially prescription painkillers,” are the main reason for the rise in unintentional drug poisonings. The Nutrition Institute of America has found that there were 2.2 million serious adverse drug reactions (ADR’s) and claims that ADR’s are now the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States.

Imaging you are taking a couple of prescription medications and you develop a cold. You decide to head to the nearest pharmacy to get something for your cough and stuffy nose. You might want to think twice about treating your cold. Did you know that mixing over the counter antihistamines with prescription pain medications can result in death? This is exactly what happened to R&B singer Gerald Levert in 2005 – he was only 40 years old.

You should always consult your doctor and pharmacist before adding any new medications whether they are prescription, over the counter, or even herbal remedies. Keep in mind that many of the products you can now buy OTC were only available as a prescription just a few years ago; so don't underestimate their strength. Also, just because it is “natural” doesn’t mean it isn’t deadly. There are many “natural” poisons – cyanide for instance. Online "drug interaction checkers" are available on Web and allow people to type in the names of their medication and create a report that will list some possible interactions. Some sites that provide this service include the University of Maryland Medical Center, Drugs.com, Eckerd, Discovery Health, Drugstore.com and Express Scripts. Keep in mind this is only an initial check and cannot replace a consultation with your doctor for specific advice. Important factors about
your health, lifestyle and medical history are not included in these reports and can often be very important to determining whether you are likely to have an adverse reaction.

Even when online reports warn of the potential for harmful interactions, it's possible that the medications may still be combined under a doctor's supervision. Unfortunately, this is the reality – as inconvenient as it is – if you are going to take some form of
medicine. Even if you get past the adverse drug interaction issue, there is still a laundry list of side effects that typically accompany any prescription drug.

Vicodin is a common prescription drug used to treat migraine type headaches. The most frequently reported adverse reactions include: lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea and vomiting. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory than in nonambulatory patients and some of these adverse reactions may be alleviated if the patient lies down.

Other adverse reactions to Vicodin

Central Nervous System: Drowsiness, mental clouding, lethargy, impairment of mental and physical performance, anxiety, fear, dysphoria, psychic dependence, mood changes.

Gastrointestinal System: Prolonged administration of VICODIN® Tablets may produce constipation.

Genitourinary System: Urethral spasm, spasm of vesicle sphincters and urinary retention have been reported with opiates.

Respiratory Depression: Hydrocodone bitartrate may produce dose-related respiratory depression by acting directly on the brain stem respiratory center. (see OVERDOSAGE).

Special Senses: Cases of hearing impairment or permanent loss have been reported predominantly in patients with chronic overdose.
Dermatological: Skin rash, pruritus.

The following adverse drug events may be borne in mind as potential effects of acetaminophen

Allergic reactions, rash, thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis.

Potential effects of high dosage: In acetaminophen over dosage: dose-dependent, potentially fatal hepatic necrosis is the most serious adverse effect. Renal tubular necrosis, hypoglycemic coma, and thrombocytopenia may also occur.

Early symptoms following a potentially hepatotoxic overdose may include: nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis and general malaise. Clinical and laboratory evidence of hepatic toxicity may not be apparent until 48 to 72 hours post-ingestion.

In adults, hepatic toxicity has rarely been reported with acute overdoses of less than 10 grams and fatalities with less than 15 grams.

Treatment: A single or multiple overdose with hydrocodone and acetaminophen is a potentially lethal polydrug overdose, and consultation with a regional poison control center is recommended.

Considerations when taking acetaminophen

As common as acetaminophen is, you may be shocked to learn all the consideration that should be taken into account before taking any. Imagine what the list is like for a prescription drug!

What should my health care professional know before I take acetaminophen/pseudoephedrine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • anemia
  • drink more than 3 alcohol-containing drinks per day
  • blood vessel disease
  • diabetes
  • difficulty urinating (urinary retention)
  • glaucoma
  • heart disease or heart rhythm problems
  • high blood pressure
  • infection
  • kidney or liver disease
  • over active thyroid
  • prostate trouble
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to acetaminophen, aspirin, pseudoephedrine, other medicines,
  • foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

What drug(s) may interact with acetaminophen/pseudoephedrine?

  • alcohol
  • ammonium chloride
  • amphetamine or other stimulant drugs
  • antacids
  • bicarbonate, citrate, or acetate products (such as sodium bicarbonate, sodium acetate, sodium
  • citrate, sodium lactate, and potassium citrate)
  • bromocriptine
  • caffeine
  • cimetidine
  • cocaine
  • furazolidone
  • linezolid
  • medicines for colds and breathing difficulties
  • medicines for diabetes
  • medicines known as MAO inhibitors, such as phenelzine (Nardil®), tranylcypromine (Parnate®),
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan®), and selegiline (Carbex®, Eldepryl®)
  • medicines for mental problems and psychotic disturbances
  • medicines for migraine
  • medicines for seizures
  • procarbazine
  • some medicines for chest pain, heart disease, high blood pressure or heart rhythm problems
  • some medicines for weight loss (including some herbal products, ephedrine, dextroamphetamine)
  • St. John's wort
  • theophylline
  • thyroid hormones
  • warfarin

What side effects may I notice from taking acetaminophen/pseudoephedrine?

If you take acetaminophen; pseudoephedrine as recommended, serious side effects are uncommon. Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • anxiety or nervousness
  • bloody or black, tarry stools
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • dizziness, or fainting spells
  • excessive sweating
  • fast or irregular heartbeat, palpitations
  • fever or sore throat
  • high blood pressure
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • rapid or troubled breathing, or wheezing
  • pain or difficulty passing urine
  • severe, persistent, or worsening headache
  • sleeplessness (insomnia)
  • skin rash or hives
  • stomach cramps and pain
  • tremor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • headache (mild)
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • restlessness

What should I watch for while taking acetaminophen/pseudoephedrine?

Check with your prescriber or health care professional if your congestion has not improved within 7 days, or if you have a high fever.

If the product makes it difficult for you to sleep at night; take your last dose a few hours before bedtime. If nervousness, dizziness, or sleeplessness occur, stop using and consult a health care professional.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber you are taking acetaminophen/pseudoephedrine.

Report any possible overdose promptly to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible. The effects of excessive doses may not be obvious for several days. Many nonprescription medicines contain acetaminophen as an ingredient. Always read the labels carefully to avoid taking an accidental overdose.

Avoid alcoholic drinks if you are taking acetaminophen; pseudoephedrine on a regular basis. Alcohol can increase possible damage to your liver. Acetaminophen can affect the results from some blood-sugar tests used by diabetic patients. Check with your prescriber or health care professional before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetic medicine.

If you are receiving cancer chemotherapy or other immunosuppression medicine, do not take this medicine; check with your prescriber or health care professional first. Acetaminophen may hide the signs of an infection such as fever or pain.

Price of Drugs

Ok, so you are prepared to take the chance of having an adverse drug reaction. Are you also prepared for an adverse wallet reaction?

According to Consumer Reports, your monthly cost for a triptan based prescription drug can be up to $528 based on treating two migraine headaches per month. More commonly, it is in the $100 to $200 per month range.

When the price per pill is $24 and up, the damage to your wallet can be very substantial.

Keep out of reach of children. Kids can get into the darndest of places.

Herbal medicines have side effects as well: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=14995

Please note: This natural remedies section does not replace the assessment and advice of your doctor. Consultation with a health professional is extremely important, especially if you plan to take a supplement of any kind.

As you may have already discovered, something that works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. Even when a particular treatment works well, over time its effectiveness can diminish or even completely disappear over time.

For these reasons more, it is a good idea to have an arsenal of options that you can use. Below is a list of common natural remedies that you should try before resorting to any drug.

We recommend that as a first step, you start a headache journal. Proper headache diagnosis relies in part on quality feedback from the patient to doctor. A migraine sufferer is much more likely to receive the best treatment plan for their
type of migraine if the doctor is given accurate reporting of symptoms.

Any time you get a headache try to write down things related to how, where, when and why you are getting a headache. Some things to take note of include:

The environment: noise, lights, fumes.

Food or drink: red wine, cheese, artificial sweeteners, wheat, fatty foods (think deep fried) coffee/caffeine, soda drinks, chocolate (sorry ladies) and a generally poor diet.

Lifestyle: lack of sleep, stress, lack of exercise.

This list is by no means complete. The more thorough you are in keeping your journal the more likely you are to find a trigger. The journal should also be used to record things you are taking to try and cure or lessen your headaches. You may not have a “trigger”, but a certain food or supplement may be helpful in preventing headaches.

Finally, be sure to note the date and severity of the headache so you can track frequency and degree. You may find that although a supplement didn’t eliminate headaches from your life, it may decrease the how often or how bad a headache you get. Any improvement that allows you to avoid drugs is a good thing.

A journal will help you to identify what may be the cause or the cure to your particular type of headaches. A little effort in this area can lead to a lifetime of relief. You can speak to your doctor or pharmacist to get help in organizing a journal that will help you identify causes and cures.

If you want it all set out for you, there are a couple highly recommended workbooks that you can purchase from Amazon. Either one will work, check them both out and you may find you have a preference:

  • Check-Up-Chart Migraine Journal & Workbook (paperback) by V. R. Quinn
  • The Migraine Deliverance Planner (Hardcover) by Shelly L. Griffin

Most doctors tend to shun many of the natural remedies listed below in favor of prescription medication. One reason for this is that there is a lack of double blind studies that show that they work. Often where a proper study has been undertaken, the results do not indicate that the treatment works any better than a “placebo.”

Despite the lack of medical evidence, there are always some people who will swear to the efficacy of one or more of the natural remedies.

Although a doctor may not prescribe a “home remedy,” they would never tell you to stop a home remedy if it is working for you. And that is the key! A home remedy may only work for a small percentage of sufferers, but if it works for you, who cares. We are all different, and the reasons for getting a headache are numerous. When you factor individual body chemistry with all the various reasons for people getting headaches, there could be millions of different paths to cure headaches.

Which path is right for you will depend on many factors, most of which are not well understood by the medical community. Some solutions work for a broader spectrum of people than others. On the other hand, you might be the one in a thousand that a particular cure works for.

When selecting a natural cure, especially with diet or supplements, try to get the best you can find. Look for supplements that are from natural sources. Always prefer organic over inorganic. Unpasteurized or unprocessed foods tend to contain more of the ingredients you are looking for in your search for a cure.
You will also want to consider the company from which you are buying a product. Food is not inspected for nutritional content. Supplements are not regulated and tested to ensure you are getting what is stated on the label. Try to deal with reputable companies and don’t believe everything you read on a label or a book. Remember, freedom of the press does not mean they have to tell the truth!

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is somewhat different for everyone because everyone associates different types of smells with different things. However, there are some aromas that stand out as headache remedies. If you want to try aromatherapy, start each of the following, or even a combination of some of these: peppermint, sandlewood, lavender, and eucalyptus. Use essential oils for massage, or use candles or soaps.

Many companies sell products with these names now that are cheap and may only make your headache worse. Be sure to use quality items, which means the purest essential oils you can find.

Another way to use aromatherapy is to make a compress by putting 5 drops of your favorite essential oil in cold (or warm) water. Swish around a soft cloth, then put it on your head or neck.

Exercise

Regular exercise helps us cope with pain by helping to release the body’s natural painkiller: endorphins. It's especially effective for people with migraine. Some people find that mild exercise during a migraine helps alleviate the pain. Be sure to ease into it! A supplement known as DLPA has been talked about which helps the endorphins do their job even better. Try: 1/2 hour walk a day, or a brisk walk outdoors when you get a headache.

Massage

Massage is another way you can make use of the aromatherapy oils. Not only does massage stimulate and relax, touch itself is one of the greatest healers.

Have someone kneed across your shoulders and the back of the neck. Next, have them press on the base of your skull with their fingers, and slowly release.

Trying to give yourself a massage can be effective, but it is very difficult to relax and massage at the same time. For this reason it is usually best to have someone else do the massaging. If no one is available, you can try these techniques yourself:

  • rotate your fingers over your scalp.
  • Put pressure on the webbed part of your hand between your finger and thumb.
  • Foot massage.

Heat and Cold

With this type of treatment, you will have to experiment to find out what works for you; but avoid extremes, which can
make things worse! Some common ways to use this treatment include:

  • A cold pack wrapped in a couple layers of towel on your neck.
  • Put your hands in hot water. You can potentially solve two problems at the same time by simply doing the dishes.

Diet

Diet can play an important role in the onset of headaches. You can start with an elimination diet and then start adding back various types of foods to see if you react to any of them. This, of course, relates to the removal of headache triggers.

One of the great things about a diet cure is that you are treating the underlying cause of the headache instead of just masking the pain associated with it. Adding a particular food to your eating regime is obviously much better than masking the pain with a drug associated with numerous adverse side effects.

As a general rule, try to avoid processed foods and foods with artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Learning to cook with whole foods can require some effort, but you are worth it!

Some vitamins and minerals have been linked to the reduction or elimination of headaches. Unfortunately, the research on this is spotty and usually not up to the standards used for conventional medical science. It never hurts to try these anyway; you never know what will work for you and your particular headache.

Magnesium is one example of a diet related cure that has been linked to migraine. You may want to start by eating more foods that will boost your magnesium levels. Foods rich in magnesium include halibut, dry- roasted almonds and cashews, spinach, whole-grain cereals, black-eyed peas, long-grain brown rice, kidney and pinto beans, avocadoes, bananas, and raisins. A high quality magnesium supplement may also work but shouldn’t be a replacement for a healthy diet.

The research on riboflavin is encouraging. In one trial (no placebo control group), 400 milligrams or riboflavin a day for six months cut migraine headache frequency in half and decreased medication use. Another study showed that three months of riboflavin led to a 50 percent improvement in almost 60 percent of the volunteers, versus a 15 percent improvement over the people taking a dummy pill.

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like product that participates in mitochondrial energy production. In one trial where 42 migraine sufferers took either coenzyme Q10 (100 milligrams three times a day) or a placebo, the supplement significantly reduced the frequency of attacks.

Herbal Supplements

Memorize these:

  • Herbs + Prescription Drugs = Risk
  • Herbs + Pregnancy = Risk

Some herbs don’t play well with certain prescription or even non-prescription drugs. It is always recommended that you consult your doctor before you start mixing drugs with a nutritional supplement. With some drugs, you must avoid things like alcohol or dairy. Because herbal supplements are less commonly used, they don’t necessarily list them as things to avoid when taking the drug.

Some specific examples like Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, Echinacea, St John's wort and large quantities of garlic can interact with migraine medications. These herbs can interact with liver enzymes that metabolize migraine medications, which can cause a toxic interaction, says researcher Carla Rubingh, a clinical pharmacist specializing in headache and pain management at the Utah Health Sciences Center. The reaction could be fatal with the combination of a tricyclic antidepressant and St John's wort, the researchers say.

Some researchers have found that some herbal remedies - ginkgo biloba, ginseng, St John's wort and valerian root - also may cause or worsen migraine or cluster headaches.

Herbal remedies have been used throughout human history and especially in Chinese medicine, have gained a great deal of respect as effective and safe solutions. Once again, since headaches are individual in nature, you may need to try several different solutions before you find the one that works for you.

Below are a few of the more recommended herbs:

Feverfew: This herb looks like a tiny daisy and comes from the same line of plants (Asteraceae). Most of the eight studies on feverfew’s ability to prevent migraines found some degree of benefit. In a recent clinical trial, 170 German patients took a placebo pill or an extract of feverfew for 16 weeks. Those taking feverfew had significantly fewer migraines.

Feverfew is usually taken daily to prevent, rather than treat, migraines. If you do take feverfew long-term, know that there have been some reports of rebound headaches upon discontinuing use. It is recommended that you taper off the dose instead of simply discontinuing it cold turkey.

Butterbur: Similar to Feverfew, this herb is also a member of the Asteraceae family. The leaves and rhizomes contain petasin, which relaxes smooth muscle tissue and also inhibits the formation of inflammatory substances. This plant also contains liver toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), so it’s important to choose a supplement that is PA-free.

In three clinical trials the results have shown that this herb, taken preventively, reduces the number of migraines. Unfortunately, it typically takes at least four weeks for the benefits to become obvious.

Some other supplements to try include:

  • 5 – http
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Co-enzyme Q10
  • SAMe
  • Belladonna
  • Bryonia
  • Cimicifuga
  • Cyclamen
  • Gelsemium
  • Ignatia
  • Iris versicolor
  • Kali bichromicum
  • Lachesis
  • Natrum muriaticum
  • Sanguinaria
  • Sepia
  • Silicea (also called Silica)
  • Spigelia

DLPA

DLPA is new supplement which may be ideal for those suffering from chronic pain of many kinds. DLPA, other wise known as DL-phenylalanine, is an essential amino acid. DLPA has been getting attention in the medical world for its ability to reduce both chronic pain and depression. The research that backs this up was discovered in a round about way, because DLPA doesn’t actually do the job, its endorphins.

Endorphins are your body's natural painkillers that work similar to morphine or codeine. `Not only do they relieve pain, they also have been connected to "euphoric" feelings, such as the "high" that comes with prolonged, strenuous exercise ("runner's high").

Dr. Seymour Ehrenpreis found that by injecting DLPA, he could raise endorphin levels and cut down on pain. Instead of being terribly addictive like morphine, DLPA is non-addictive, non-toxic, has few or no side effects. As an added bonus, DLPA tend to work better the more it is used.

The reason DLPA works is that it slows down the enzymes in your body that "eat up" endorphins. This way, the endorphins last longer and are able to work longer.

DLPA has been found to be most useful for chronic pain and depression. It has also helped with symptoms of PMS, and even cut down on inflammation. Chronic pain might include back pain, arthritis, pain due to diseases such as cancer, and, of course, headache.

Studies have found that migraine sufferers tend to have low endorphin levels. DLPA can help reverse this naturally and thereby help reduce the pain associated with headaches of all kinds.

DLPA is available in capsule form without prescription at health food stores and pharmacies around the world. Talk to your doctor about dosage information. Most simply it can be taken 1 capsule a day, but your doctor may suggest an off/on schedule since DLPA continues to work after you stop taking it.

Be sure you're getting DL-phenylalanine and not L-phenylalanine. Remember, this is a fairly new treatment and your doctor may not be familiar with it.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people have stopped their headaches and/or migraines by drinking Apple Cider Vinegar. The trick is to take it at the onset of symptoms. Try to select a vinegar that is organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized (look for floating bits in it). As with all of the natural remedies, you want to have the best possible source to ensure you are getting all the benefits.

Dosage: 2 TBLS of Apple Cider Vinegar in 8 oz of water, two times per day. If this isn’t to your taste, try adding some local honey. Local honey is made from pollens in your area and will help your body attune itself to your environment.

You should try this for at least a week before abandoning it.

Acupuncture

Many people claim acupuncture has helped them with all types of headaches.

Yoga and Meditation

Stress and muscle tension can be the underlying cause of a number of health problems, including headaches. Yoga and Meditation can have numerous positive effects by relaxing the muscles and relieving stress. This is another area where you can also incorporate the use of aromatherapy.

Botox

Yes, the anti-wrinkle “medication,” Botox, has been shown to be effective in preventing headache pain among chronic sufferers. In one study, eighty percent of 271 headache patients said their headaches occurred less frequently or were less intense after taking Botox. This study also found fewer side effects for Botox than more traditional medications.

Other Treatments

There are almost as many home remedies as there are people with headaches. Even when it comes to prescriptions, no one drug works for everyone. That is why it is important to try a variety of solutions to see what works for you. Without going into details, a list of some of the other less universal remedies are as follows:

  • Magnetism and ions (try a humidifier or a walk over a bridge over water).
  • Giving up smoking.
  • Getting up at the same time every day is VERY important, especially if you suffer from “weekend headaches.”
  • Buckwheat pillows, because they cool things off and provide much needed support.
  • Eye pillows with flax seed.
  • Ginger relaxes blood vessels in the head and reduces swelling in the brain. It activates natural opiates in the brain that relieve pain. Ginger can be taken in food, in tea, or in tablet.
  • Herbs like Brahmi, gives a relaxation to the brain and Ashwagandha, potent stress reliever calms down anxiety. They can be used in many forms. Make a tea from equal proportions of ashivagandha and brahmi (about 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon each), steep in a cup of water for about 10 minutes, and drink 2 or 3 times a day.
  • A paste of clove and salt crystals in milk is a common household remedy for headaches.
  • Include five almonds along with hot milk in your daily diet.
  • Black pepper along with honey or milk, twice or thrice a day.
  • Apply neem powder gently on your forehead.
  • The Betel leaves (Pan) has analgesic and cooling properties. It can be applied over the painful area.
  • The seeds of Bishop's Weed (Ajwain) are useful in the treatment of headache and stress. They can be either smoked or sniffed frequently.
  • Dip a small towel in cold water, rinse, and apply to forehead.
  • Mix one teaspoon of finely ground cinnamon and one teaspoon water. Apply on the forehead to get relief from
  • headache.
  • A jalapeno pepper can be eaten at the onset of a sinus headache.
  • Have someone pull your hair by starting slowly at the back of the neck and grabbing as much hair in two fistfuls close to the scalp. Pull for 3 seconds and release, slowly working your way up to the forehead, releasing and grabbing the next batch of hair with both hands. Then work backwards along the sides of the head to the rear.
  • Place your feet in cool water to encourage circulation to the legs and feet – this often relieves congestion headaches in the head.
  • Lack of sleep can trigger a headache.

Why Individualized treatment?

All headaches are associated with pain, however, they differ considerably in causes, severity, frequency, and disability. Some people may experience severe pain only once each year, while others may have mild pain every day. Then there is everything in between.

The causes can also vary from person to person. One person may get headaches only if they eat a certain food. Another may get headaches when they don’t get enough sleep. For many, the onset of a headache is triggered by something unknown.

If you are treating your headache with something that must be ingested, prescription, nonprescription or “natural,” there is always a risk of exacerbating a coexisting medical condition.

Conditions such as heart disease, depression, anxiety, allergy, and seizure disorder must always be considered. A common medical condition that must be taken into account is asthma. You don’t want to take a headache medication that makes your asthma worse or interacts with asthma medications.

Doctors or pharmacists don’t always remember to ask the right question and patients don’t always know to inform them.

The best way to start looking for an individual treatment is to start a headache journal. Proper headache diagnosis relies in part on quality feedback from the patient to doctor. A migraine sufferer is much more likely to receive the best treatment plan for their type of migraine if the doctor is given accurate reporting of symptoms.
Any time you get a headache, write down things related to how, where, when and why you are getting a headache. Some things to take note of include:

  • The environment: noise, lights, fumes.
  • Food or drink: red wine, cheese, artificial sweeteners, wheat, fatty foods (think deep fried), coffee/caffeine, soda drinks, chocolate (sorry ladies) and a generally poor diet.
  • Lifestyle: lack of sleep, stress, lack of exercise.

This list is by no means complete. The more thorough you are in keeping your journal the more likely you are to find a trigger.

The journal should also be used to record things you are taking to try and cure or lessen your headaches. You may not have a “trigger”, but a certain food or supplement may be helpful in preventing headaches.

Finally, be sure to note the date and severity of the headache so you can track frequency and degree. You may find that although a supplement didn’t eliminate headaches from your life, it may decrease the how often or how bad a headache you get. Any improvement that allows you to avoid drugs is a good thing.

A journal will help you to identify what may be the cause or the cure to your particular type of headaches. A little effort in this area can lead to a lifetime of relief. You can speak to your doctor or pharmacist to get help in organizing a journal that will help you identify causes and cures.

If you want it all set out for you, there are a couple highly recommended workbooks that you can purchase from Amazon. Either one will work, check them both out and you may find you have a preference:

  • Check-Up-Chart Migraine Journal & Workbook (paperback) by V. R. Quinn
  • The Migraine Deliverance Planner (Hardcover) by Shelly L. Griffin

Here are some interesting books that might help you. These are suggestions for information purposes only. Dr Zaxx cannot endorse the books on this list or the informatation, techniques or products they may contain.

  • Overcoming Headaches: A Natural Approach by Pat Thomas
  • Headache Help: A Complete Guide to Understanding Headaches and the Medications That Relieve Them by Lawrence Robbins, et al.
  • What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Migraines by Alexander Mauskop, et al.
  • Aromatherapy For Dummies® by Kathi Kaville
  • Check-Up-Chart Migraine Journal & Workbook by V. R. Quinn
  • The Migraine Deliverance Planner (Hardcover) by Shelly L. Griffin
  • Yoga Therapy for Headache Relief by Peter Van Houten
  • The Women's Migraine Survival Guide: The most complete, up-to-date resource on the causes of your migraine pain--and treatments for real relief by Christina Peterson
  • Breaking the Headache Cycle: A Proven Program for Treating and Preventing Recurring Headaches by Ian Livingstone
  • The Headache Prevention Cookbook: Eating Right to Prevent Migraines and Other Headaches (Paperback) by David R. Marks (Author), Laura Marks (Author)
  • The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply--And What We Can Do About It by Thomas F. Pawlick
  • Massage Made Easy: 100 Great Ways to Beat Stress, Relieve Aches and Pains, and Tone Key Areas of Your Body (Hardcover) by Mario-Paul Cassar (Author)
  • Download PDF for $19.95 at www.naturalheadacheremedies.com

You can find a huge list of books by clicking here.

Recent Discussions

    Connect with Us

    Stay informed on the latest news! Connect with us using any of these social networks:

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+RSS

    Subscribe